From Illinois Business Journal news services
EDWARDSVILLE – Madison County Chairman Alan J. Dunstan today reacted to United States Steel Corp.’s plans to temporary idle the Granite City Works, calling it “… a devastating blow to the thousands of families who will be affected by the plant’s closing.”
U.S. Steel plans to idle its Granite City Works beginning May 28, part of an ongoing adjustment of the company’s steelmaking operations throughout North America.
“The effect of shutting down the plant is dramatic enough for the 2,080 employees and their families, but the closing also impacts the thousands of people employed at satellite businesses which serve the Granite City plant,” Dunstan said.
Dunstan said Madison County will join with all levels of government to do whatever possible to ensure the plant’s closing is temporary and not a permanent closure.
“We are hopeful the temporary closing of the plant can be averted, but if the closing does occur we want to make sure it is a temporary closing and not permanent,” he said. “The modernization of the steel plant over recent years, along with the exceptionally skilled workforce, has maintained the plant’s competitiveness. The steel plant in Granite City has been in operation since 1878, and we want to do whatever possible to keep it in operation for many years to come.”
“We will continue to work with the members of our congressional delegation in an attempt to address the situation that penalizes the United States’ steel industry while making it attractive for businesses to import steel from China and South Korea,” he said in a statement.
Dunstan said Madison County is working with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to deploy a Rapid Response Team that will aid furloughed workers with programs and services. “We’re going to do whatever we can to help families get through this situation.”
The Granite City Works produces ‘flat-rolled’ steel materials which are used in the production of tubular steel, primarily for the oil and gas industry. The falling gas and oil prices have resulted in a reduction in oil and natural gas drilling and less demand for the tubular steel products.